Overton presses Test claims in England's big tour win - Saudi Gazette

Overton presses Test claims in England's big tour win

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England pacer Craig Overton (C) walks off the field with teammates following their victory.

ADELAIDE, Australia — Craig Overton improved his chances of an England Test debut in this month's Ashes series with an impressive bowling performance in the emphatic tour win over the Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide on Saturday.

England needed just half an hour to wrap up a comprehensive 192-run victory early on the final day of the four-day tour match at Adelaide Oval.

The Somerset paceman took one of the three remaining wickets to fall to finish with three for 15 off 11 overs to share the wickets among the pace battery. Overton is now firmly in line to make his Test debut at the Gabba for the opening Test of the series on Nov. 23 and insists he is ready for the task.

"I'd like to think so but I've still got a bit of work to do," Overton told reporters. "It's still a work in progress. It's just finding that rhythm over here and I'd prefer to be over-cooked than under-cooked going to Brisbane."

On his chances of cracking a spot in the England Test XI, Overton said: "You're never quite sure, you just keep on doing your thing and try not to worry about it too much. If you get a call up then happy days if not I will be supporting the team as much as possible. "I'm just making sure I bowl the best I can when I get a chance and hopefully that will be good enough. I'm confident it will be."

James Anderson took two wickets on the final day to finish with three for 12 off 10.2 overs while Chris Woakes, who triggered the CA XI second innings collapse late on Friday, did not bowl on Saturday to have four for 17 off 10 overs.

Anderson, who is now the new team vice-captain in place of the suspended Ben Stokes, said he has been impressed with Overton's efforts on tour. "He's a big lad, gets plenty of bounce and he's very skilful too," England's all-time Test wicket-taker said. "He can swing the ball, seam the ball and he brings something different to the team. He's settled in really well."

An England batting collapse was averted only by Jonny Bairstow's unbeaten knock of 61 in the second innings of 207 and former fast bowler Ryan Harris, in charge of the CA XI, liked what he saw.

"I think their batting is vulnerable, absolutely, especially with no Stokes at six or seven," Harris said. "But it depends on how our boys bowl at them. If we're loose and wide then we won't have them in any trouble. We've got some good intelligence and knowledge on England and I'll pass that on to our bowlers."

Australia are delighted that England's big two batting hopes, Joe Root and Alastair Cook, have not really fired on tour yet, the new captain having made one half century in his three innings and the former one having suffered three failures.

"We've been known to target the captain and Joe Root is genuinely their best player," Harris said. "You've got Alastair Cook too who knows these conditions pretty well so if you take the best two out it's always going to be hard. That's what I'm sure the Australians are trying to do.

"I think Cook looked a bit rusty. He's had a good county season but it's different in our conditions."

England head to north Queensland on Sunday for their final Ashes warm-up game against the CA XI yet again, starting in Townsville on Wednesday, before the opening Test in Brisbane.

Meanwhile, England seamer Jake Ball is in doubt with an ankle injury for England's final Ashes warm-up game in Townsville next week, team officials said on Saturday.

The Nottinghamshire paceman had scans which revealed a right ankle ligament strain after a tumble while bowling on day two of the four-day tour match against a cricket Australia XI at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday.

The England medical team will assess the injury over the next week and he will play no further part in the Adelaide match, a team spokesman said. National selectors have called up England Lions and Sussex left-arm seamer George Garton as cover for Ball for Wednesday's final four-day warm-up match.

The Lions fly into Brisbane on Nov. 14 for a two-week camp with a red-ball focus, culminating in a three-day match against a Queensland XI from Nov. 27-29.

Pace bowler Steven Finn was ruled out of the Ashes tour earlier this week with a knee injury and was replaced by Surrey's Tom Curran. Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Craig Overton, Chris Woakes and Curran are the only fit fast bowlers in the England squad. —AFP


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